"The Author of the Constitution"

"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union . . . " is the beginning of our United States Constitution. The Nobel phrases of this Preamble came from the brilliant mind of Gouverneur Morris. He represented Pennsylvania at the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and was the author of much of the Constitution. The Preamble and the finely wrote clauses that followed clearly mirrored his personal political philosophy. Morris was considered perhaps the most outspoken nationalist among the Founding Fathers. Although born into a world of wealth and aristocratic values, he had come to champion the concept of a free citizenry united in an independent nation (Wright and Gregor).
Gouverneur Morris was born on January 31, 1752 in the Morrisania house in Manhattan (Britannica). The Morris family of New York, descended from Welsh soldiers, represented the closest thing to an aristocracy that could be found in colonial America (Wright and Gregor). Morris\' father had inherited a large manor in Westchester County, and he raised two families. Gouverneur, the only son of the second marriage, knew that he would inherit only a small share of the estate and would have to work to retain the comforts and privileges of his forbearers.
Morris attended local preparatory school, and then enrolled at Kings College in New York City at the age of twelve. Here the young scholar, showing academic brilliance, along with a little laziness, graduated in 1768. He was only 16 when he graduated from college. He was admitted to the bar after three years of study with William Smith, one of New York\'s leading legal minds and a strong opponent of British policies toward the colonies.
Morris\' political career began in 1775 when he was elected to represent the family manor in New York\'s Provincial Congress, an extralegal assembly organized by the Patriots to direct the transition to independence. Class identity and family ties should have inclined him away from revolution. Morris\' half-brother was a senior officer in the British Army, his mother remained a staunch Loyalist, and his mentor, Smith, now with almost a fathers influence, had abandoned the Patriot cause when he saw it heading toward independence. However, Morris adhered to the principle that, as he put it, "in every society the members have the right to the utmost liberty that can be enjoyed consistent with the general safety."
Morris could have avoided military service, he was physically handicapped--scalding water had badly damaged his right arm in a childhood accident--and as a legislator he was automatically exempted from militia duty. But he viewed active service as a moral obligation and joined one of the special militia companies proliferating in New York City. Later, as a member of the Provincial Congress, he concentrated on the formidable task of transforming the colony into an independent state (Wright and Gregor). He led a successful fight to include a provision for religious toleration in the first state constitution, most of which he helped write (Britannica).
He then sat on the Continental Congress from 1778-9. He threw himself into organizational work, serving as the Continental Army\'s spokesman in Congress. His support for Washington, Nathaniel Greene, and Fredrick von Steuben contributed directly to the success of the reining and structural reforms thrashed out in the snows of Valley Forge and in the meeting rooms of Congress. Other assignments quickly established him as a leading proponent of stronger central authority, but these nationalist views were more advanced than the thinking of most of his New York constituents. This growing estrangement, compounded by his often unstatesman-like frankness and sarcasm, cost him reelection to Congress in 1779 (Wright and Gregor).
Political rejection led him to resettle in Philadelphia, where he took up the life of lawyer and merchant. His series of essays on finance led to his appointment, under the Articles of Confederation, as assistant to the superintendent of finance, Robert Morris (Britannica). When Robert Morris became Minister of Finance, Gouverneur became his assistant. Together the two men participated in the informal cabinet system that arose during the closing years of the war. Through their efforts, Congress\' finances were stabilized and logistical arrangements were successfully made for the crucial Yorktown campaign. Gouverneur was an american statesman, diplomat and financial expert who helped plan the US decimal